1989 Gary Zauft  Clear Lake.gifGary Zauft graduated from high school in a small Northern town of Proctor, Minnesota in 1959. He entered the University of Minnesota - Duluth and graduated with a degree in science in 1964. Gary earned his MA degree from Mankato State College in 1967.

Although Gary competed in sports in high school and college, he did not wrestle. His first real contact with wrestling was in 1964 when he was hired to teach and coach in Lake Crystal High School, Lake Crystal, Minnesota. He was hired as assistant wrestling coach because he had experience in weight lifting at UM-Duluth.

In 1967, Gary searched for an area with more to offer in terms of outdoor sports. A position in Clear Lake High School caught his eye. He accepted the head wrestling position. Clear Lake High School was a small school, with an enrollment of 202.

Gary had his work cut out for him. He inherited a team that was down and not having success. Gary developed it into a quality program and has maintained it to the present time. Gary is intense and very competitive. He demands respect of those around him and strives for excellence.

Gary realized early that to build a strong program he must get his wrestlers involved. To do this he became a leader in Western Wisconsin in organizing freestyle wrestling. Gary realized that if he hosted freestyle tournaments and clinics and brought in knowledgeable officials and clinicians his wrestlers would have more exposure to wrestling.

He became a tremendous promoter of wrestling. He held the State AAU Exchange chairman position from 1972 to 1980. It was during that time he helped bring exchange teams from West Germany (1974, 1975 & 1978). Mexico 1976 and Finland 1977. In 1978, Gary traveled with the Wisconsin exchange team to West Germany as a coach. In 1977 and 1978 he helped coach the Wisconsin team to the National Tournament.

From 1967 to 1988, Gary has earned an impressive team dual meet record of 216-65-2 His wrestlers have rewarded him with 14 Lakeland Conference team championships, and 78 individual conference champions. His teams have won five WIAA Regional Championships with 54 individual champions, and 4 WIAA Sectional championships and 21 individual champions. His teams have placed well at the WIAA State Wrestling Championships including third twice - 1980 and 1986 and fourth in 1988. Gary has taken 37 individual entrants to he state Tournament including 18 place winners, 8 finalists and 2 state champions.

Gary has served the wrestling community well. He has been concerned with rule changes, especially those emphasizing the safety and welfare of the wrestlers. He will express his opinion on issues concerning wrestling. Being from a small school, Gary was a strong promoter of the class system.

Gary has had the honor of being selected District One Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1984. He served as WIAA Rules Advisory Committee member from 1985 to 1988 and WWCA District Representative from 1986 - 1988.

Gary Richard Zauft | 1941 - 2016 | Obituary


Monday, Jul 11, 2016
4:00 PM-7:00 PM

Gary Richard Zauft

May 24, 1941 - July 03, 2016

On July 3rd, 2016, Gary Zauft (75) died at the Amery Memory Care after an 8 year struggle with dementia. Gary was born, May 24th, 1941, in Superior, WI. He grew up in Duluth, MN, and graduated from Proctor High School in 1959. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from U of M - Duluth. In 1964, he married Robin Power and moved to Lake Crystal, MN, where he taught science and coached wrestling and football. Their daughter, Deena, was born in Mankato, where Gary received his master’s degree. In 1967, they moved to Clayton, WI, where Julie, Andrew and Corrie were born. For the next 35 years, he devoted his life to teaching physics, chemistry, earth science, hunter safety, and coaching wrestling and football to thousands of Clear Lake students. Gary was inducted into the George Martin Wrestling Hall of Fame on Nov. 3rd, 1989. After retiring, he went on to teach chemistry and astronomy for seven years at UW-Barron County. Gary enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing and family trips.
He is survived by his wife, Robin, Deena Zauft, Julie Gilbertson (Scott), Andrew Zauft (Angela), Corrie Roemhild (Brian), and 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson, all of whom he dearly loved. 
Gary’s family will always be grateful to the compassionate, capable staff at Amery Memory Care and to the nurses, social workers, and volunteers from Adoray Hospice who provided help and comfort to us all.
In celebration of his life, friends and family were invited to a gathering at Clear Lake Chalet on July 11th, 2016 from 4-7 pm.



Monday, July 11, 2016
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Chalet ~ Clear Lake Park 
Clear Lake, Wisconsin